It’s an outback epic road trip that cuts a swathe right through the middle of the Kimberley – we’ve found the most ‘do-able’ way to navigate the iconic Gibb River Road…
DAY 1: Find your 4WD
Pick up your 4WD (broomebroome.com.au) or campervan (apollocamper.com) in Broome and stock up on food, water and alcohol. Head to Matso’s Brewery for dinner (a Broome must-do), then stay at The Mantra Frangipani – it’s great, and at a great price.
DAY 2: Drive to Derby (3 hours)
Stop at the Derby Prison Boab Tree (signposted), which tells the sad history of local indigenous people. If you don’t own a compressor, let down your tyres here (around 5psi should be enough, but check at the service station). Then double back to the Gibb River Road turnoff (5km down the road) and head to stunning Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek (1.5 hours). Camp at Windjana Gorge or head on to Mount Hart Homestead (2 hours).
DAY 3: Drive to Bell Gorge (2 hours from Windjana, 2.5 hours from Mount Hart)
Optional: stop off at Lennard River Gorge on the way (1.5 hours from Windjana, 1 hour from Mount Hart) for the 30-minute walk to the gorge lookout. (We don’t advise you attempt to climb down and swim here, as some say you can.) Once at Bell Gorge, take the 45-minute walk to the waterhole. Spend the day here; stay at nearby Silent Grove Campsite (10 minutes) or Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge (50 minutes).
DAY 4: Mornington bound
Refuel at Imintji Roadhouse (45 minutes from Silent Grove; 5 minutes from Bell Gorge Lodge). Head to Mornington Sanctuary (20 minutes past Imintji to the turnoff; 2 hours from there). Camp or stay in a safari tent and enjoy a decadent, gourmet dinner in the open-air restaurant.
DAY 5 : Mornington has broken
Spend the day enjoying Mornington, capping it off with a sunset at stunning Sir John Gorge (pictured).
DAY 6: Towards Manning River
Leave Mornington for Manning River (4 hours), stopping for swims at easily accessible Adcock Gorge (2 hours back to Gibb River Road, 20 minutes from there) and equally accessible Galvans Gorge and its rope swing (another 30 minutes past that). Refuel at Mt Barnett Roadhouse (another 30 minutes again), then spend the afternoon swimming in Manning River (35 minutes). Stay at Manning River Campsite or Mt Barnett Roadhouse.
DAY 7: Gorge yourself
Get up early to take the one-hour walk to Manning Gorge; spend the day here. Stay at the same place.
DAY 8: Take a scone break
Another early morning for the one-hour walk to nearby Barnett River Gorge for a swim (45 minutes from Mt Barnett Roadhouse), then move on to Ellenbrae for their famous scones (1 hour, 15 minutes). Stay or camp at Ellenbrae, or drive on to Home Valley Station (1.5 hours). Optional: Turn off at Kalumburu Road to spend a few days exploring the northern part of the Kimberley near Mitchell Falls (experienced 4WDers only).
DAY 9: El Questro
Explore Ellenbrae or Home Valley Station, then head on to El Questro Wilderness Park (2 hours from Ellenbrae, 30 minutes from Home Valley), stopping to snap the truly stunning Cockburn Ranges. Camp at one of El Questro’s private riverfront sites, stay at Emma Gorge Resort, or splurge on a room at the El Questro Homestead.
DAY 10: Explore the El wilderness
Must-sees include Emma Gorge and the thermal waters of Zebedee Springs. Spend another night here.
DAY 11: Sweep over to Broome
Refuel at Kununurra, then begin the stunning drive back to Broome via the Great Northern Highway (13 hours in total), stopping for a night at Fitzroy Crossing along the way.
*Note – all timings approximate, as road conditions can (and do) vary.